By Kevin Zhang
As of Sunday, 19 people are dead from a Precision Air flight that crashed into Lake Victoria in Tanzania, according to Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa.
The plane had departed from the commercial capital of Dar es Salaam and crashed while attempting to land during rough weather.
“All Tanzanians join you in mourning these 19 people … who have lost their lives,” Majaliwa said to reporters in the northwestern city of Bukoba, where the plane was set to land at an airport before it crashed into the lake.
According to regional officials, there were 43 people on board, including 39 passengers, two pilots, and two cabin crew. 26 survivors out of the 43 people on board flight PW 494 had been rescued and taken to a hospital in Bukoba.
It was unclear whether the 19 victims included rescuers who were killed or whether the 48-seater plane had more passengers than was disclosed.
“We are continuing to investigate. There is a possibility that two people were not onboard but died during the rescue effort,” said Chalamila, a regional commissioner.
Precision Air, the largest privately-owned airline in Tanzania, said it had dispatched rescuers to the scene. “An investigation team consisting of Precision Air technical staff and TAA (Tanzania Airports Authority) has also departed to join the rescue team on the ground,” the airline said in a statement.
The aircraft had encountered problems and rough weather when it was around 100 meters above the ground, causing the plane to veer off course and plunge into the lake.
The city of Bukoba and the Bukoba Airport is on the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. Rescue boats were deployed and emergency rescuers continued to rescue other passengers that were trapped on the plane.